geekup leeds and eyetracking for maps

Couple of weeks back, presented about OpenStreetMap at Geekup Leeds. I’ve put the slides up on slideshare for you to view. It was done in a fun 20/20 Pecha Kutcha style way, although in reality, was really 18/20 and 4/10 but I don’t think anyone was counting! The other talk was by Guy Redwood from simpleusability on eyetracking, that technology used to create “heat spots” of websites amongst other things. Would be very interested to see how this type of usability testing could be applied to maps. Initially, it would be interface design, the mapping interfaces are (on the main) horrid reconstructions of arcane desktop applications. This is one of the things google showed how to do well.

But after interface design, I think eyetracking could be useful in navigation, cartography, map design, in process of how to find places using a map. Could be good to see a comparison of some mapping sites and see how they compare when it comes to a) finding your house and b) finding pudding lane in london.

(apparently the Ordnance Survey extensively uses eyetracking to help shave off microseconds for those mechanical-turk style activities)

Geekup, and it’s daytime sister event, OpenCoffee are great ways for the Leeds and Northern tech scene to network communicate and geek away to cool stuff. Amongst those I met at openCoffee were; Richard with some cool origami business cards, Reinhold Behringer from Leeds Met ultra smart guy working on augmented reality (who also has loads of gps traces for leeds!), Ben Dalton also from Leeds Met, he did those great inflatable rabbits you may have seen, and is helping me, along with Imran Ali to arrange the Mapping Weekend for Openstreetmap. Imran’s a great guy, very committed to making the North a place for tech to flourish, and something that I think, opencoffee and geekup is helping towards. Next event: OpenCoffee Leeds, at LoftArt, upstairs at Flannels, Sept. 4th, come along and bring a demo! Upcoming details.

Leeds mapping party 15th &16th September is coming up soon, hopefully we will be able to announce a great venue for it this week. Should be good to see the holes being filled in on the Leeds map, kick starting activity in the area, raising the profile of the project, and hopefully some will rub off on the neighbouring cities of Hull and Bradford, both of which are scandalously bare in coverage.